Davis denies Israel in Tel Aviv

By Danny Caro, October 16, 2013
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WORLD CUP GROUP F QUALIFIER
ISRAEL 1 NORTHERN IRELAND 1

Israel ended their World Cup qualifying campaign in disappointing fashion with a 1-1 draw at home to Northern Ireland.

Having already secured a third place finish in Group F, Eli Gutman’s troops were unable to see off determination opposition in Tel Aviv.

Eden Ben Basat continued his good run of goal-scoring form with the opening goal two minutes before the interval. Having scored the equaliser against group runners-up Portugal on Friday, Ben Basat registered his sixth goal in seven qualifying games after glancing home a header from a cross from Eyal Meshumar.

Israel captain Dudu Awat was called into action several times. He was finally beaten on 72 minutes when a neat exchange between Sammy Clingan and Jamie Ward allowed Steven Davis to send a swerving strike into the net. It was no more than the visitors deserved.

Northern Ireland came closest to winning the game in the closing stages, with Awat producing a brilliant stop to deny Martin Paterson.

Israel boss Eli Gutman said: "I thought our campaign was quite reasonable. We had one low point, which was the 4-0 loss to Russia.

"We made changes after that and improved our play. Our biggest problem of the campaign was our inconsistency."

Martin O’Neill, the Northern Ireland manager, said: “A draw was the very least we deserved. "We could have been a bit more dynamic in possession and it was disappointing to lose a goal two minutes before half-time.
We changed our shape after the break - Jamie (Ward) came in and gave us that little spark. The character we showed in the second half was really encouraging.
"Chris Baird slotted into defence and we played with three at the back. After that, we pretty much controlled the game, although Israel had a go in the last five minutes."

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Israel: Awat, Meshumar, Davidadze, Natcho, Ben Haim (sub: Keinan 45), Tibi, Melikson, Yeini, Ben Basat, Zahavi (sub: Ben Chaim 71), Refaelov (sub: Shechter 79). Subs not used: Alberman, Barda, Dgani, Ezra, Harosh, Ben Harush, Radi, Biton, Keiman

Goal: Ben Basat 43

Booked: Yeini

Northern Ireland: Carroll, Hodson, Lafferty (sub: Ferguson 78), Baird, McArdle, Cathcart, Evans (sub: Brunt 24), Clingan, Paterson, Davis, McGinn (sub: Ward 65). Subs not used: Mannus, Grigg, McKay, Bruce, Little, McGovern

Goal: Davis 73

Booked: Cathcart

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Match Stats

Israel
Shots on target: 4
Shots off target: 4
Corners: 6
Fouls: 9
Possession: 54 per cent

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Northern Ireland
Shots on target: 2
Shots off target: 5
Corners: 4
Fouls: 10
Possession: 46 per cent

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GROUP F FINAL STANDINGS:
1. Russia Pl. 10, W. 7, D. 1, L. 2, F. 20, A. 5, Pts. 22
2. Portugal Pl. 10, W. 6, D. 3, L. 1, F. 20, A. 9, Pts. 21
3. Israel Pl. 10, W. 3, D. 5, L. 2, F. 19, A. 14, Pts. 14
4. Azerbaijan Pl. 10, W. 1, D. 6, L. 3, F. 7, A. 11, Pts. 9
5. Northern Ireland Pl. 10, W. 1, D. 4, L. 5, F. 9, A. 17, Pts. 7
6. Luxembourg Pl. 10, W. 1, D. 3, L. 6, F. 7, A. 26, Pts. 6

Last updated: 9:46am, October 16 2013